Archive for January, 2007

Ding Dong!

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 by Strep Throat

Calling all composers – eleven notes in under eleven days
Could you compose a short piece to be performed on York Minster’s chime bells on Saturday 20th January, as the pre-concert introduction to Spire a striking, magical exploration of sound and space which invites you to think again about the church organ?
This is your opportunity to step into the shoes of one of Britain’s most famous composers – Michael Nyman, who was due to perform a new work, but now has to be at the Sundance Film Festival.
The time slot is from 6.45 to 7.00pm and the promoters – SightSonic, Touch and the University of York – are hoping to feature two or three short works.
“It was a great shame that Michael had an unavoidable conflict, but we see this as an opportunity for other composers”, said Peter Boardman, chair of SightSonic. “The idea came out of a conversation with artists Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie of the OpenEnded Group, whose new work is being projected onto the East End of the Minster until 28 January. They set the challenge of composing for eleven notes in the remaining eleven days available.”
Dr. Tony Myatt, University of York Music department, who will be among the selectors, described the chime bell keyboard as a set of wooded levers – like a carillon, but not chromatic. “It has 11 notes, a diatonic scale spanning a 10th plus a sharp fourth. Considered in C, the keyboard is C to E’ (octave + 2 tones) plus an F#. The notation that I played was written in C, but the bells sound in D. The keyboard is played with the base of the hand (a vertically oriented loose fist, playing almost with the side of the knuckle of the 5th finger), normally using alternate hands. Some limited two part writing is also possible. I would estimate that one of the skilled Minster players could play semiquavers at  crotchet = 90. Because the keyboard is manual, only two notes can be played at any one time.”
The selected work will be performed by one of the members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers. Entries should be sent to peter.boardman@york.gov.uk.
Spire has been performed at cathedrals and churches in Geneva, Linz, Amsterdam and Brussels in Europe and in Newcastle and Leeds Town Hall in the UK.  This production is a partnership between SightSonic, Touch and the University of York’s Concert Series, by kind permission of the Dean & Chapter of York Minster.

[…]

Any composers amongst us? I know there are…

Spire

Tickets

Minster

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A dirty filthy murdering coward

Monday, January 15th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The criminal coward George W. Bush:

I didn’t want to see him go through the trap door

Without even the stomach to see his mortal enemy receive ‘justice’.

You cant make stuff like this up!

And The Times says:

Bush’s admission of mistakes seen as weakness in Baghdad
Stephen Farrell in Baghdad

In a region where admission of error is rare among leaders fearful of appearing weak, President Bush’s candour has been trumpeted by his enemies as a statement of defeat.

Sunni insurgents contacted by The Times after Mr Bush’s surge strategy was announced gleefully seized upon his remark: “mistakes have been made”.

Abu Mo’ath, of the ’Islamic and Nationalist Front for the Liberation of Iraq, said: “This strategy is nothing new ….but the new thing about it is the defeated accent of the American President Bush who always worked hard to appear tough and strong, and rejected any sort of negotiations about Iraq’s problems.”

Abu Qutada, an anti-coalition fighter with the self-styled al-Rashideen Army, said: “It’s very clear that America failed completely in Iraq in all aspects, as their politicians are saying.

“But we say defeated, not just failed, and they are nowadays desperate to find a way out of their troubles here.”

In the wider Arab world Al-Khaleej newspaper in the United Arab Emirates dismissed Mr Bush, saying “he has no more credibility, either in his country or abroad….his military forces are headed for defeat.”

Ibrahim Aloush, a Jordanian political analyst, said: “Until a few months ago, Bush and the Neocons were acting so pompously about their policy in Iraq. So where’s that triumphant look now? It’s definitely not there any more.

“The guy looks tired, literally beaten. And he was beaten in Iraq. Even if the admission of mistakes came in the fom of ’We weren’t doing enough’ that still remains a testimony to the valiant efficiency of the Iraqi resistance on the ground.”

And Fathi Khataab, in Egypt’s Islamist opposition al-Ahrar newspaper, shared the opinion of many that Mr Bush’s ’admission’ of defeat boded ill for the prospects of stability in the Middle East: “No doubt that the admission of mistakes in Iraq is a victory for the Iraqi resistance and a clear failure of the American administration in Iraq,” he wrote.

“Bush’s plans to increase the troops is proof of his failure. Because of this failure in front of the Iraqi resistance he has started searching for a victory in the region in Iran and Syria.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/

[…]

“The illogic of waste”….yes indeed.

Indefatigable

Monday, January 15th, 2007 by meau meau

Blair launches new drive to let officials share data on citizens

Tony Blair will today spearhead a fresh government initiative to persuade voters they have nothing to fear from consenting to a relaxation of “over-zealous” rules which stop Whitehall departments sharing information about individual citizens.

How are people going to give ‘informed consent’? Is it not more likely that officials will be told to assume consent has been given unless specifically denied (and how effective is this likely to be)? And how will all this be regulated?

But the exercise was denounced by opposition MPs as a further lurch towards a Big Brother state even before the prime minister announces the formation of five citizen panels, each with 100 members, to examine the merits of such a change.

Just examine the merits? will these ‘citizen panels’ be fed with the sort of half truths and incomplete information that Civil Servants/Select Committees would rightly reject?

Officials were keen to emphasise that talk of a “single massive database” is misconceived. What is at issue is allowing individual departmental systems to talk to each other.

What is at issue is the ability for an individual to limit/prevent the damage caused by disclosure of personal information to all and sundry.

One official derided the condemnation likely to come from civil liberty lobbies, insisting: “At present we have some ridiculously artificial demarcations in government when Tesco and the credit agencies know more about us all than government agencies which are there to help you.”

Tesco is not a monopoly service provider and the information it gathers can be controlled to an extent by Data Protection laws which help prevent it gaining third party information. In principle and to a large degree Tesco only gathers the information you supply it with or allow to be made public. YOU CAN OPT OUT OF SUPPLYING TESCO WITH INFORMATION especially by not shopping there. In addition a lot of information held by State controlled agencies is potentially more damaging than that held by Tesco et al. (and I don’t even include covertly gathered ‘intelligence’).
There is no comeback from not supplying Tesco with information – it can’t fine you for not having a clubcard, or for not having a TV License, it doesn’t have powers to curtail freedom of movement or protest. It’s a shop – it just sells things.

The first target of the reforms is bereavement, when families under stress are required to notify a range of agencies that they have lost a loved one.

Work is still under way to establish the technical changes that would be necessary to make reporting a death a one-stop call. It is claimed such changes would help “early identification” and thus give warning that a family is struggling.

Surely it is better to question why so many officials need to be informed of a death.

But the Tories and Liberal Democrats have brushed aside promised safeguards and denounce the change as “an excuse for bureaucrats to snoop”. The NO2ID campaign to resist government plans for universal ID cards calls the proposals “the abolition of privacy”.

Manifesto commitments to overturn this please, all else is hot air.

It reverses the historic presumption of confidentiality, the campaign argues, something ministers deny. But the office of the information commissioner, whose task is to promote public access to official data – and to protect personal data – is taking a more benign view. The government’s intentions have been debated within Whitehall and were signalled as part of the reform of public service delivery in the documents published as part of Gordon Brown’s pre-budget report in November. “Citizens should be able to access public services in relation to changes in their personal or family life events through a single point,” said a document which promised a delivery plan in 2007.

If public services were handled at a local level more then the burdens would be easier to bear on both sides

Inside Whitehall the lead department on the proposed change is work and pensions, whose secretary of state, John Hutton, yesterday used an interview on BBC1’s Politics Show to deny that the change were too intrusive. The potential benefits were considerable, he said. “The government already stores vast amounts of data about individual citizens [why??? – mm] but actually doesn’t share it terribly intelligently across various government agencies. I had a case in my department about a family where someone had unfortunately died in a road traffic accident, and over the space of six months, on 44 separate occasions, they were asked by elements of my department to confirm details of this terrible tragedy.”

This burdensome red tape is entirely because the government is already too involved in people’s lives.

[…]

Guardian

This all follows on from the relaxation of Data Protection controls last July and is most likely a prelude for the most questioning Census ever in 2011. It’s like a real version of the boogeyman stories about drugs, the soft stuff leads onto the hard stuff and BAM! you’re hooked.

Government intrusion? Just Say No!

Hmm, I was trying to ‘Detox’

Automated Targeting System

Monday, January 15th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

If you’ve traveled abroad recently, you’ve been investigated. You’ve been assigned a score indicating what kind of terrorist threat you pose. That score is used by the government to determine the treatment you receive when you return to the U.S. and for other purposes as well.

Curious about your score? You can’t see it. Interested in what information was used? You can’t know that. Want to clear your name if you’ve been wrongly categorized? You can’t challenge it. Want to know what kind of rules the computer is using to judge you? That’s secret, too. So is when and how the score will be used.

U.S. customs agencies have been quietly operating this system for several years. Called Automated Targeting System, it assigns a “risk assessment” score to people entering or leaving the country, or engaging in import or export activity. This score, and the information used to derive it, can be shared with federal, state, local and even foreign governments. It can be used if you apply for a government job, grant, license, contract or other benefit. It can be shared with nongovernmental organizations and individuals in the course of an investigation. In some circumstances private contractors can get it, even those outside the country. And it will be saved for 40 years.

Little is known about this program. Its bare outlines were disclosed in the Federal Register in October. We do know that the score is partially based on details of your flight record–where you’re from, how you bought your ticket, where you’re sitting, any special meal requests–or on motor vehicle records, as well as on information from crime, watch-list and other databases.

Civil liberties groups have called the program Kafkaesque. But I have an even bigger problem with it. It’s a waste of money.

The idea of feeding a limited set of characteristics into a computer, which then somehow divines a person’s terrorist leanings, is farcical. Uncovering terrorist plots requires intelligence and investigation, not large-scale processing of everyone.

Additionally, any system like this will generate so many false alarms as to be completely unusable. In 2005 Customs & Border Protection processed 431 million people. Assuming an unrealistic model that identifies terrorists (and innocents) with 99.9% accuracy, that’s still 431,000 false alarms annually.

The number of false alarms will be much higher than that. The no-fly list is filled with inaccuracies; we’ve all read about innocent people named David Nelson who can’t fly without hours-long harassment. Airline data, too, are riddled with errors.

The odds of this program’s being implemented securely, with adequate privacy protections, are not good. Last year I participated in a government working group to assess the security and privacy of a similar program developed by the Transportation Security Administration, called Secure Flight. After five years and $100 million spent, the program still can’t achieve the simple task of matching airline passengers against terrorist watch lists.

In 2002 we learned about yet another program, called Total Information Awareness, for which the government would collect information on every American and assign him or her a terrorist risk score. Congress found the idea so abhorrent that it halted funding for the program. Two years ago, and again this year, Secure Flight was also banned by Congress until it could pass a series of tests for accuracy and privacy protection.

In fact, the Automated Targeting System is arguably illegal as well (a point several congressmen made recently); all recent Department of Homeland Security appropriations bills specifically prohibit the department from using profiling systems against persons not on a watch list.

There is something un-American about a government program that uses secret criteria to collect dossiers on innocent people and shares that information with various agencies, all without any oversight. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from the former Soviet Union or East Germany or China. And it doesn’t make us any safer from terrorism. […]

This essay, without the links, was published in Forbes.

They also published a rebuttal by William Baldwin, although it doesn’t seen to rebut any of the actual points. “Here’s an odd division of labor: a corporate data consultant argues for more openness, while a journalist favors more secrecy.” It’s only odd if you don’t understand security.

It also needs to be pointed out that all over the world, in countries without a widespread credit card system, most airline tickets, no matter what the destination, are bought with cash.

That means that any ‘third world’ traveller has been given a higher score thanks to this bogus metric, when in fact its absolutely normal to buy airline tickets with cash all over the world.

These people are totally insane.

But you know this.

It’s All Spielberg’s fault!

Sunday, January 14th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Blair wants ‘super-Asbos’ for violent thugs
David Cracknell, Political Editor

TONY BLAIR is to mount a final assault on Britain’s thug culture by introducing restrictions that will curb potential yobs’ movements even before they have committed an offence.

After attempting to tackle antisocial behaviour, he is proposing to introduce a “violent offender order” (Voo) targeted at those whom police believe are likely to commit violence.

These new “super-Asbos” will be aimed not only at people who have a history of violent behaviour or who have just left prison but also those who may not yet have committed an offence.

According to a Home Office document outlining the plan, to be published next month, the measures will ban potential trouble-makers from certain areas or mixing with certain people, alert police when they move house and possibly force them to live in a named hostel, give details of vehicles they own and impose a curfew on them.

The orders will last for at least two years, with no upper limit. Any breach could lead to up to five years in jail. Ministers believe police will apply for 300 to 450 Voos each year.

The measures will be seen as a last-ditch attempt by Blair to rescue his legacy on law and order before he quits No 10 in the summer. Despite the prime minister’s boast that overall crime has been falling for the past decade, violent crime is rising.

A report out today, by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in association with The Sunday Times, reveals that almost half of the offenders caught by police are getting away without a court punishment, robberies have risen and murders are up by a third. Street muggings remain stubbornly high.

The Voos are designed to be a “preventative measure”, according to the Home Office paper. “It would mean that, where an individual was known to be dangerous but had not committed a specific qualifying offence, restrictions could still be placed on their behaviour,” it says.

Like Asbos, the police or probation service would apply for the orders to the civil courts, where the threshold for proof is lower than in a criminal case. The document says the process will therefore be much quicker and hearsay evidence will be permitted to obtain an order against a suspect. Any breach of the order would be a criminal offence.

Unlike Asbos, which solely cover antisocial behaviour, Voos would be targeted at thugs who would be placed on the violent and sex offender register, a national database for intelligence on people deemed to be a serious risk to the public.

Ministers are concerned that the Asbo regime has failed to give police and the authorities enough powers to tackle potentially violent offenders.

The paper identifies a series of “risk factors” that could lead to a person being targeted for the new order. These include a person’s formative years and upbringing, “cognitive deficiencies”, “entrenched pro-criminal or antisocial attitudes,” “a history of substance abuse or mental health issues”.

Factors could also include a person’s domestic situation or relationship with their partner or family, as well as more obvious signs such as “possession of paraphernalia related to violent offending (eg, balaclava, baseball bat), or extremist material”.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the civil rights campaign group, said: “Haven’t we seen enough already with Asbos and control orders? This sounds like another incredibly broad power, with more legislation — another quick fix undermining natural justice and not making us any safer.”

[…]

Times Online

Yes indeed; they called it… ‘Pre-Crime’

Minority Report is the cause for all of our woes. I can guarantee you that the computer illiterate sub-human trash of the likes of Bliar had no idea of what was possible (maxing out the Totalitarian vibe-wise) until he saw the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Minority Report’ (heaven knows he would never have read the book) and then, turning to somoene in his black lair he would have asked, “Could we actually do this?” whereupon some consultant disguised in human form would have said, “Yes, but it would take time“.

It was probably as stupid as that.

The totally seductive idea of being able to prevent crime, not just murder, but all crime, Pre-Crime style, probably made Bliar wet his pants. Knowing that a precognitive mutant solution was not to hand, he did the next best thing: Legislation.

Read the comments here, in response to this BBQ article. Critical mass is approaching, make no mistake about it. People are slowly waking up.

We even have words like this, which are as the sweetest music to my ears:

Mr Cameron! Make it part of your manifesto that you will roll back all the infringements on my long-held & fought for British rights & way of life and you will have this life-long Labour supporter’s vote.

And thats a promise.

– Ian Fergey, Braintree, Essex

From this article, on the outsourcing of M|5’s bogus ‘terror’ alert ‘service’.

Let the runaway chain reaction begin.

Finally, ‘The country that brought you Hitler’ brings you ‘the Prum Treaty':

Police across Europe to share DNA database

David Rose
Sunday January 14, 2007
The Observer

Police and security services in the European Union will share access to an unprecedented range of individuals’ personal data under a radical package of measures to be discussed by EU justice ministers this week. It allows agencies in different countries to search one another’s databases – DNA records, fingerprints, vehicle details – and other personal information. Even if someone has no criminal record and their DNA is not on a database, police can ask their foreign colleagues to collect a sample.

The measures, known as the Prum Treaty, after the German town where it was signed, are being championed by Germany, which holds the EU presidency. Documents obtained by The Observer show that the Germans are also holding secret talks with top US officials in an attempt to conclude a data-sharing agreement with America – first for Germany alone, then for the EU […]

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1989902,00.html

Almost everyone in the UK now knows reflexively why this is wrong.

At last, we are beginning to get results.

The ‘Surge’ Is A Red Herring

Friday, January 12th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

by Paul Craig Roberts

Bush’s “surge” speech is a hoax, but members of Congress and media commentators are discussing the surge as if it were real.

I invite the reader to examine the speech. The “surge” content consists of nonsensical propagandistic statements. The real content of the speech is toward the end where Bush mentions Iran and Syria.

Bush makes it clear that success in Iraq does not depend on the surge. Rather, “Succeeding in Iraq . . . begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”

Bush asserts that “these two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.”

Bush’s assertions are propagandistic lies.

The Iraq insurgency is Sunni. Iran is Shi’ite. If Iran is supporting anyone in Iraq it is the Shi’ites, who have not been part of the insurgency. Indeed, the Sunni and Shi’ites are engaged in a civil war within Iraq.

Does any intelligent person really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to arm Iraqi Sunnis who are killing Iraqi Shi’ites allied with Iran? Does anyone really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to provide sanctuary for Iraqi Sunnis?

Bush can tell blatant propagandistic lies, because Congress and the American people don’t know enough facts to realize the absurdity of Bush’s assertions.

Why is Bush telling these lies? Here is the answer: Bush says, “We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

In those words, Bush states perfectly clearly that victory in Iraq requires US forces to attack Iran and Syria. Moreover, Bush says, “We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.”

What do two US aircraft carrier attack groups in the Persian Gulf have to do with a guerrilla ground war in Iraq?

The “surge” is merely a tactic to buy time while war with Iran and Syria can be orchestrated. The neoconservative/Israeli cabal feared that the pressure that Congress, the public, and the American foreign policy establishment were putting on Bush to de-escalate in Iraq would terminate their plan to achieve hegemony in the Middle East. Failure in Iraq would mean the end of the neoconservatives’ influence. It would be impossible to start a new war with Iran after losing the war in Iraq.

The neoconservatives and the right-wing Israeli government have clearly stated their plans to overthrow Muslim governments throughout the region and to deracinate Islam. These plans existed long before 9/11.

Near the end of his “surge” speech, Bush adopts the neoconservative program as US policy. The struggle, Bush says, echoing the neoconservatives and the Israeli right-wing, goes far beyond Iraq. “The challenge,” Bush says, is “playing out across the broader Middle East. . . . It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.” America is pitted against “extremists” who “have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.” “The most realistic way to protect the American people,” Bush says, is “by advancing liberty across a troubled region.”

This, of course, is a massive duplicitous lie. We have brought no liberty to Iraq, but we have destroyed their way of life. Bush suggests that Muslims in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine are waiting and hoping for more invasions to free them of violence. Did Bush’s invasion free Iraq from violence or did it bring violence to Iraq?

It is extraordinary that anyone can listen to this blatant declaration of US aggression in the Middle East without demanding Bush’s immediate impeachment.

Republican US Senator Chuck Hagel declared Bush’s plan to be “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” In truth, it is far worse. It is naked aggression justified by transparent lies. No one has ever heard governments in Iraq, Syria, or Iran declare “their intention to destroy our way of life.” To the contrary, it is the United States and Israel that are trying to destroy the Muslim way of life.

The crystal clear truth is that fanatical neoconservatives and Israelis are using Bush to commit the United States to a catastrophic course.

[…]

Anti-War

We of course, know that bush doesn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims:

[…] The Iranian government doesn’t ’sponsor terrorism’. The entire cause of ‘terrorism’ is USUKs interference in other people’s countries. Look at this documentary to find out just how IGNORANT Bliar and Bu$h are; the killer part is where the presenter recounts the event where Bu$h took some Shias and Sunnis to the Super Bowl. They talked. Somehow, the discussion came round to Islam, and someone mentioned that Sunnis and Shias sometimes….’don’t get along’, whereupon The Great Satan said, “You mean that there is more than one kind of muslim?”. […]

BLOGDIAL

If americans (and by americans, i mean the 50% that don’t agree with fascism) need to ‘step up to the plate’ and DO SOMETHING about the preparations for an attack on Iran.

At the very minimum, they (the 50%) should stage a seven day national strike. Everyone and every business that is against expanded war close up shop for one solid week.

Thats not so hard is it?

UK Laws now online?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007 by Barrie

The UK Statute Law Database

The UK Statute Law Database (SLD) is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online. For more information about SLD and what it contains see Help

Statute Law Database

I remember reading a post on Blogdial maybe two years ago to the effect of this, putting all laws online for the public to see. This database has been online since late December and it’s a good START… and as much as they trumpet its success, there is still a problem:

Where’s the interaction?

Where’s the Wiki? Why can’t I add comments? How come we can’t vote on the laws in a digg-like fashion? Why aren’t challenges to the laws posted? Because none of this is any good when a list of many of the horrible laws that are in effect cannot be questioned and challenged within the powerful internet forum – does the gov’t think the public is just going to say “oh it’s really powerful to be able to look at my laws! Now I really now how to be good!” People want INTERACTION and EFFECT. Not just a list.
So while it’s nice that all the statutes are linked together, and are updated to reflect not-yet-enacted legislation, replete with amendments… without the “citizen-input” this program is incomplete. Nice though, to see a non-commercial copyright use program. Though I fail to see why commercial reproduction of the laws requires licensing… though that’s something I don’t quite have the time to fully look at.
I still have in my mind an idea for a citizen-made public wiki-type thing for all the laws in Canada… if only I had the capital and the programming chops. Maybe one day!

Greetings from Edmonton, in the middle of the first blizzard of the year. Stay warm, peeps.

Verizon and Basic Math

Monday, January 8th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

If someone asked you, “Do you know the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents?” would you respond with a “yes” or a “no”? For me, it’s an immediate “yes”, as I imagine it is for most people (or so I hope). However, George Vaccaro has found out the hard way that some people simply do not know the difference.

The story, if you haven’t heard it by now, is that George, who is from the U.S., was in Canada and he had called Verizon inquiring what the fee would be per kilobyte (KB) while he was abroad. Verizon quoted him “0.002 cents per KB.” So George uses 35,893 KB in Canada and goes about his life. Upon returning home, he finds that Verizon has charged him $71 for his KB usage in Canada-a fee that equals 0.002 dollars.

To keep things short, George calls Verizon and informs them of this mistake. While on the phone, they confirm several times that the charge is “.002 cents per KB.” However, no one at Verizon seems to be able to tell the difference between 0.002 cents and 0.002 dollars. In fact, George recorded and posted the conversation he had with Verizon. It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve heard in a long time.

Why is it so frustrating? Because it should be very simple math. 0.002 dollars is equal to 0.2 cents, not 0.002 cents. Observe:

100 \times 0.002 = 0.2

See what I did there? I took 100 pennies (which is equal to 1 dollar) and multiplied it by 0.002. The result is moving the decimal place to the right two places, which gives me 0.2 cents. We can see right away that 0.2 cents-or 0.002 dollars-does not equal 0.002 cents.

The Verizon folks were simply taking 0.002 and multiplying it by 35,893, which returns 71.786-which they read to be 71 dollars and 79 cents. What they should have done is convert 0.002 cents to dollars, which would be 0.00002 dollars. If you take that number it multiply it by the KB usage you get what George should have been charged:

0.00002 \times 35893 = 0.71786

71 cents, not dollars (and Google agrees)!

This isn’t integral calculus or differential equations; it’s very basic middle (elementary?) school math. If a kid ever asks you “What will I ever use math for, anyway?” this story should give you an obvious response.

http://agoravox.com/article.php3?id_article=5458

[…]

Now do you understand?

Gordon G. Brown will never get it

Monday, January 8th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Brown to end Blair’s terror strategy

[…]

Mr Brown, who backed the 2003 Iraq invasion, said he had since learned that only so much could be achieved against terrorists and religious fanatics by brute military force, intelligence, security work and policing. In terms that will appeal to many Labour supporters but anger Mr Blair — and some in Washington — he said the fight to stop “extremist terrorist activities” would only be won after world leaders triumphed in a peaceful battle for “hearts and minds”.

Suggesting that he would not follow Washington into any future military action against rogue nations such as Iran, Mr Brown said the kind of “cultural war” fought by the West against Communism in the 1940s and 1950s could be a “model” for the next chapter of the war on terror. […]

Telegraph

Gordon has no clue at all. Thats because he doesn’t understand the era that he is in.

There can be no ‘cultural war’ in this age, because of…The Internets.

All the people he is talking about waging a cultural war against are already completely immune from cultural attack; this is why they are in a state of unprecedented cultural cohesion and frictionless networking.

For example, have you ever noticed the insanely great music that accompanies the ‘Juba’ videos, or those ‘messages from the front’ where IEDs blow up armored vehicles? There is a huge culture of ‘Nasheeds‘ music made from only the human voice, which are:

Nasheeds (Arabic: أناشيد; also spelt Nasyid in Malaysia) are Islamic-oriented songs. Traditionally, they are sung a cappella, accompanied only by a daff. This musical style is used because many Muslim scholars interpret Islam as prohibiting the use of musical instruments except for some basic percussion. Despite what might be considered a handicap, Nasheeds are spreading across the music network as many people admire the purity and simplicity of the music.

Look at the guys in that nasheeds.com link. They are not going to swallow any propaganda, no matter how much it is sugared, and whats more, they are putting out their own thoughts ideas and music that outclasss and outperform anything that Gordon ‘The Grotesque’ Brown and his UK based PR scum-bags could ever come up with, the main reason being that they are on the side of righteousness.

The only way PM in waiting Gordon G. Brown can ever hope to take the UK off of the shit list is to REPENT and to totally disengage in the bogus ‘War on Terror’ and completely drop all of its hideous side effects. That means immediate withdrawl from all countries where this US led insanity is taking place, repealing all Bliar’s anti-terror legislation and measures, and promising never to follow The Great Satan into the abyss again. He might even consider paying reparations for the crimes that were committed by his government.

That is the only thing that will put it all right. You cannot tell one billion people that their religion is the new Communism that needs to be defeated, and then expect to win. Not only is Islam not analagous to Communism, but even if it was, the tools of any ‘cultural war’ are in the hands of everyone with a cellphone. Every blogger, email writer and text messager is a soldier in this war. There is no way that you can defeat that. To get a good understanding of what an insurmountable task this would be, should you be stupid enough to try it, read, ‘In the Shadow of the silent Majorities‘:

The whole chaotic constellation of the social revolves around that spongy reference, that opaque but equally translucent reality, that nothingness: the masses. A statistical crystal ball, the masses are ‘swirling with currents and flows,’ in the image of matter and the natural elements. So, at least, they are represented to us.

Written in 1978 and first published in English in 1983, In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities was the first postmodern response to the delusional strategies of terrorism. At a time when European terrorists were taking politics into their own hands, Baudrillard was the first to announce that the “critical mass” had stopped being critical of anything. Rather, the “masses” had become a place of absorption and implosion; hence the ending of the possibility of politics as will and representation.

The book marked the end of an era when silent majorities still factored into the democratic political process and were expected to respond positively to revolutionary messages. With the masses no longer “alienated” as Marx had described, but rather indifferent, this phenomenon made revolutionary explosion impossible, says Baudrillard.

The mass absorbs all the social energy, but no longer refracts it. It absorbs every sign and every meaning, but no longer reflects them… it never participates. It is a good conductor of information, but of any information. It is without truth and without reason. It is without conscience and without unconscious. Everybody questions it, but never as silence, always to make it speak. This silence is unbearable. It is the simulation chamber of the social.

As a mere shadow cast by power, the silent majority and its hyper-real conformity have no meaning and nothing to say to us. To that, terrorism responds by an equally hyper-real act equally caught up from the onset in concentric waves of media and of fascination.

It aims at the mass silence, the masses in their silence. It aims at the white magic of simulation, deterrence, of anonymous and random control, and by the black magic of a still greater, more anonymous, arbitrary and more hazardous abstraction; that of the terrorist act.

Remarkably prescient, Baudrillard’s meditation on terrorism throws light on post-September 11th delusional fears and political simulations. MIT Press

“A ‘cultural war’ fought by the West against Communism in the 1940s and 1950s” cannot and will not work in the 21st century. The Mass will not accept any message, as Baudrillard points out so cleanly for us. The Internets prevent any lie from taking hold for too long, and they (The Internets and the people who operate in them) are getting stronger and stronger and better and better at doing this job.

Gordon Brown is an idiot, an member of the murder Inc. cabal cabinet, a criminal, a liar, a man without any new ideas, a man without morals and a real threat to the UK if this is the best quality of his thinking. Anyway, a man guilty of mass murder has no place being in charge of this great country. But I digress.

Check out these websites, where you can get your own Nasheeds:

http://www.islamway.com/
There are some Nasheeds buried in there; good luck finding them!

http://www.anashed.net/anashed/ashretah/jwad_al_fjr.html
This site has ‘the one with the horses’, ‘Jawad Al Fijr’ that you hear in all the videos.

http://www.nsheed.com/sounds/sounds.php?mqtaa=24
For the ladies?

http://nasheed.worldofislam.info/
500 megz of nasheeds here. Leech away.

http://www.streetdawah.com/nasheeds.html
Collections on CD.

Saint Patrick Moore, Lord of the Heavens

Sunday, January 7th, 2007 by Strep Throat

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/spaceguide/skyatnight/proginfo.shtml

The Sky at Night.

For whenever you have a spare 20 minutes, discover a beautiful little part of the universe.

What you can expect if you obey the draft

Sunday, January 7th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Lord Bush wants to bring back the draft.

Thanks to The Internets, all those young americans can get a foretaste of what they can expect if they are stupid enough to obey.

This guy has another idea about how they can get more cannon fodder. He’s not kidding either:

The government could perhaps grant citizenship to any illegal immigrant who was willing to serve for two years. The government could also grant amnesty to people in prisons throughout the country willing to serve for two or more years. Of the over 12 million illegal immigrants and the millions of Americans in the prison system, I believe we could easily fill the ranks of those servicemen who need to return home, especially those who have families to care for.

In all likelihood we will remain in Iraq indefinitely. Remember, we are still in all of the countries from all major wars since World War II. The only way we can leave Iraq is if they can defend themselves against Iran, as they have been enemies at war for years.

Having Saddam Hussein in Iraq kept Iran in check. We have altered the balance of power in that region and it is now our moral duty to defend Iraq. It is our fault that there is now civil war in Iraq and that hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed.

Can you say, “Starship Troopers”?

its going to be ‘another one of those years’.

Here To Go

Sunday, January 7th, 2007 by meau meau

media whore of babylon

Sunday, January 7th, 2007 by Strep Throat

Entitled A Weekend in the City, it’s a quasi-concept album detailing Okereke’s thoughts on life in London in the 21st century. ‘East London is a vampire/It sucks the joy right out of me’ – the declamatory climax of the album’s opening track ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ is but one of the many startling images contained in Okereke’s lyrics.

[…]

Oh, please. Teen angst poems and hideously crass, cringeworthy imagery do not make for novel insights into the human condition.

I’ve been searching for the young soul rebels, I can’t find them anywhere, where have you hidden them?
Serves me right for reading the Observer, I suppose. This poor young thing is being feted as the Dylan for the Blair generation, and will have his face crushed into the mud when the stampede for the next, next DFTBG happens.

DisneyWorld War On Terror

Sunday, January 7th, 2007 by Strep Throat

Britons to be scanned for FBI database
Anger over airport fingerprint plan; Terror tests to start this summer
Paul Harris in New York, Jamie Doward and Paul Gallagher

Sunday January 7, 2007

Millions of Britons who visit the United States are to have their fingerprints stored on the FBI database alongside those of criminals, in a move that has outraged civil rights groups. The Observer has established that under new plans to combat terrorism, the US government will demand that visitors have all 10 fingers scanned when they enter the country. The information will be shared with intelligence agencies, including the FBI, with no restrictions on their international use.

[…]

The Observer

You really don’t need that holiday in Florida that much, do you?

Middle Finger Print?

Guantanamo Bay of Pigs!

Fear is the life’s blood of power

Saturday, January 6th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.
Mary Manin Morrissey

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
Marie Curie

Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.
Usman B. Asif

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.
Henry S. Haskins

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
Henry Louis Mencken

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
George S. Patton

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.
Brendan Francis

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.
Andre Gide

There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.
Frederick W. Cropp

Fear is faith that it won’t work out.
Sister Mary Tricky

Fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance.
Arnold Glasow

Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.
Henry H. Tweedy

Fear is the highest fence.
Dudley Nichols

Fear is the needle that pierces us that it may carry a thread to bind us to heaven.
James Hastings

To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.
Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved

Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.
Ruth Gendler

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.
Shirley Maclaine

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell

Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.

Brendan Francis

He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who fear life are already three parts dead.
Bertrand Russell

Fear makes us feel our humanity. Benjamin Disraeli

A cheerful frame of mind, reinforced by relaxation… is the medicine that puts all ghosts of fear on the run.
George Matthew Adams

There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.

Aeschylus

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.

Samuel Butler

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
German Proverb

If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all thinking, damages his personality and makes him a landlord to a ghost.
Lloyd Douglas

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?
Maurice Freehill

Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.
Author Unknown

Fear is a slinking cat I find beneath the lilacs of my mind.
Sophie Tunnell

To lead is difficult when you’re a follower of fear.
T.A. Sachs

I would sort out all the arguments and see which belonged to fear and which to creativeness. Other things being equal, I would make the decision which had the larger number of creative reasons on its side.
Katharine Butler Hathaway

He who fears something gives it power over him.
Moorish Proverb

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.
Author Unknown

He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear.
French Proverb

Fear can be headier than whiskey, once man has acquired a taste for it.
Donald Dowes

The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, 1833

Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death.
Betty Bender

I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically the fear of change…. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.
Erica Jong

Snarfed from Prison Planet, who snarfed it from Quote Gargen. yes, ‘Gargen’.

Its finally getting through

Friday, January 5th, 2007 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Fact: People actually DO see unknown, advanced performance craft with capabilities well beyond what ANY earth government or military is currently capable of producing. So many tens of thousands of reports from very credible and many technically adept witnesses going back at least to 1947 show that these objects seen are real and that they are not man made.

The same lame categorizing of witnesses who have seen these objects as “believers” is as incredibly stupid as categorizing people who have seen airplanes flying and on the runways as “believers”. Are they to be considered as airplane believers or as witnesses? i think it is those who label witnesses as believers that are the “true believers” of their own horse manure.

Ridicule and debunking of such sightings are the signs of little, fearful minds being confronted with strange things they cannot neatly place into their own extremely limited and prejudiced worldview. […]

Comments on the O’Hare event on Cosmic Log

We have been saying this for decades; its only a matter of time before something irrefutable happens, and thanks to the density of cameras today, its probably going to happen very soon. There are already so many pieces of footage out there it just boggles the imagination that there are still people who think UFOs are not alien spacecraft.

If you get a chance, download or buy Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs there is some footage on there that is mind blowing.

Triplet T Shirts

Friday, January 5th, 2007 by alex_tea

Happy New Year Blogdialians!

http://beneltonjohn.com/

Is there a definitive list of all Blogdial triplets anywhere, or is it a case of sifting through 6+ years of posts?

Also has anyone bought the Robert Henke Layering Buddhabox set? Any good? Worth £36?